These are projects submitted by UBC faculty, looking for a TAR intern to work on a specific challenge to student learning in a STEM classroom.
|Physics and Astronomy|
|Venue or course(s) for your TAR project|
|Science One Program|
|Big goal of this TAR project|
|To document and increase student awareness of conceptual connections between science disciplines in Science One.|
|Is this project part of a larger scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) project?|
|What is a challenge that could be addressed in this TAR project to improve student learning?|
|Science One is a first year interdisciplinary program at UBC that consists of biology, chemistry, math and physics, with a bit of computer science. One of the challenges of an interdisciplinary program like this is providing sufficient overlap between the disciplines to provide an interdisciplinary education, while battling the traditional content and philosophical constraints required to fully prepare a student for an honours degree in any single discipline. Even in a program like Science One where we focus in interdisciplinary, we still see that students have a tendency to organize knowledge into disciplinary silos.|
|What intervention, activity, or support materials could you and your TAR intern develop to help students with this challenge?|
|The TAR intern would help develop a weekly activity that gives students the opportunity to reflect on the course and make meaningful connections. By meaningful, we mean more that simply recognizing that one topic in one discipline is taught in another discipline, which is fairly low on the Bloom taxonomy, but recognizing that the way a concept is applied in one discipline, though it might look different, is identical to how the concept is applied in another discipline. The reflection activity would also give us a “real time” assessment of their interdisciplinary thinking, in contrast to other pre/post instruments that give us a picture of how students changed over the entire program.|
|How would you assess if the TAR project affects student learning? What are measures beyond comparing student grades?|
|There are three potential ways of measuring the whether or not the reflection activity affected student learning.
The first two involve using survey instruments designed by the PIs (James Charbonneau and Chis Addison) of this project. The first instrument in an attitude survey that measures how students perceive the benefit of one discipline when learning concepts of another (i.e. is physics useful for learning biology). The second instrument is a card sorting tool that measures students’ how students group concepts in an interdisciplinary or disciplinary manner. Both of these instruments have already been administered to Science One, so controls pre intervention are available. This project can been seen as an extension of the development of these two instruments.
The third method is somewhat more ambitious. In their second semester Science One students complete a large final measurement/modelling project, and write up a report on it. The topic the students choose often fits squarely within a single discipline, the students get chosen a disciplinary mentor from the Science One faculty, and as a result, the reports end up being fairly disciplinary. For instance, a previous investigation found that statistical methods learned in physics lab are not used in biology projects, even though they apply. The final measure would be to see if the intervention affects the interdisciplinary seen in the final project reports. This task would involve coding past reports and present reports to see if there was any change.
|Though the PI field doesn’t allow two names, this project will involve working in equal capacity with both James Charbonneau from the department of Physics and Astronomy and Chris Addison form the Department of Chemistry.
This project is part of a larger research program being run by James Charbonneau and Chris Addison to measure and probe interdisciplinary thinking. The development of interdisciplinary reflection activities can been seen as an extension of the work we've done to develop instruments that measure interdisciplinary thinking.